Keep Breathing is set in Britain, only a few years into the future, when the government is in the hands of the New Phoenix Party, whose leader is determined to implement a UN resolution for the reduction of Individual Units of Consumption (people.)
The proposal is that in addition to the Assisted Dying Act which had already allowed for assisted suicide, a new measure would allow people 15 years of state pension after which a Maturity Contract would offer the choice of terminal sedation or an opt-out clause. The opt-out clause would involve a reduction in the state pension by 5% per year to a minimum of 50%.
Retired journalist Howard Mitchell leads a campaign in which pensioners bring London to a standstill, the State Security Service tries to bump him off, and ordinary people come to realise just how horrendous the government’s proposals are. An interesting twist is that Howard’s sympathies politically are left of centre; this gives an unpredictable flavour to the plot and the characters. There are many references to the Catholic Church in the story and it is a great joy to read a novel where these are sensible and accurate.
The author, Adam Grace, is himself a retired journalist who spent 20 years with the Telegraph; the writing is as impeccable and taut as you would expect from such a professional. I very much enjoyed reading the novel and I recommend it to you. Here is the Amazon link: